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Pre-Law (Non-Degree) | Pre Law Education

Your journey to law school begins at the University of Central Missouri. While UCM does not have a law or pre-law degree, our pre-law pathway delivers the education you need to excel. Choose an undergraduate degree that best supports your career plans and enjoy more affordable tuition rates and smaller class sizes than at larger schools. The personal interaction with UCM faculty who hold Juris Doctor law degrees offers you tremendous value and is just one of the many reasons alumni rank us among the best schools for pre-law. 

Our partnership with the University of Missouri helps ensure your acceptance and seamless transfer to University of Missouri School of Law - Columbia or Kansas City. Following our 3+3 program, you can complete your education — bachelor’s degree at UCM and Juris Doctor degree at Mizzou Law — in six years.

Though you are not required to choose any specific undergraduate major for acceptance into law school, many UCM students who have gone on to success in law school have chosen one of the following undergraduate majors:

  • Political Science: Complete a bachelor’s degree in Political Science for a comprehensive understanding of politics, government and law and theory. A solid comprehension of Constitutional law, civil rights and courtroom law prepares you for law school and your career.
  • Criminal Justice and Criminology: Choose Criminal Justice and Criminology as your major for a strong foundation in the study of law. Your focus will be on the entire criminal system as well as juvenile and procedural law. If you have a desire to help ensure justice within your community, Criminal Justice and Criminology may be your best major for pre-law.
  • International Studies: Gain an understanding of global issues related to politics, economics and more. This bachelor’s degree may be of interest if you want to work in foreign policy or with a corporation that conducts international business.

 

Contact

Benecia Carmack
UCM Pre-Law Student Advisor and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology
Humphreys 301 C-5
Warrensburg, MO
Tel: 660-543-8891
bcarmack@ucmo.edu
 
Steven Popejoy
Professor of Business Law
Dockery 102-C
Warrensburg, MO
Tel: 660-543-8563
popejoy@ucmo.edu
 
James Staab
Professor of Political Science and International Studies
Wood 203 F
Warrensburg, MO
Tel: 660-543-8825
staab@ucmo.edu

Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies


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Options to meet pre-law requirements

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LSAT prep assistance and practice

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Preferred admit to Mizzou law schools

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Advice of UCM staff with JD degrees

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Ranked #2 in Missouri for mock trial

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Active Pre-Law Student Association

 

 

Find your future at UCM

At the University of Central Missouri, we know the best schools for pre-law prepare you with various hands-on experiences, as well as beneficial programs and resources. At UCM, these include:

  • Oral arguments: Watch the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals hold oral arguments on campus each fall and network with court justices. Join UCM’s Forensics/Speech and Debate team, The Talking Mules, which consistently brings home trophies at all levels.
  • UCM Mock Trial: Build your communication skills, trial advocacy skills and confidence by training with students from many other programs. We regularly rank in invitational, regional and national tournaments. 100% of the UCM Mock Trial team members have been accepted to law school.
  • Student associations: Expand your legal knowledge and make professional connections. UCM’s chapter of Lambda Alpha Epsilon, a national criminal justice association, holds regular meetings and participates in regional and national competitions. This group has brought home the regional trophy 20 consecutive times. Students interested in law school join our Pre-Law Student Association for meetings, special events and LSAT preparation.
  • Mentorships and internships: Get advice on law school, the bar exam and careers from UCM staff who hold J.D. degrees. Become an intern for real-world experience that strengthens your resume. Your internship opportunities include work in prosecuting attorney, public defender and victim advocate offices or at Legal Aid of Western Missouri.
  • UCM’s 3+3 program: Begin your education and training at UCM in any degree program. Upon completion of 90 credit hours and your degree requirements, you’ll transfer to Mizzou Law in Columbia or Kansas City and can fulfill your Juris Doctor degree requirements in three years.

Preparing You for Law School

Get Involved and Get Ahead

 

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Pre Law Student Association

The Pre-Law Student Association is a longstanding organization at UCM that brings together students from different disciplines who are interested in attending law school.  Members of the organization typically meet twice a month to discuss a wide array of issues associated with the law. The PLSA organization takes field trips, including to MINK Law Day each September, invites law school admissions counselors to campus, visits law schools, meets judges of the Western District Court of Appeals each fall when they hear “live” cases on campus, and introduces speakers during Politics and Social Justice Week.  The organization also has tremendous resources to assist students in preparing for the LSAT and it periodically administers practice LSAT exams.  Students interested in pursuing a law degree are strongly encouraged to join the Pre-Law Student Association! 

 

 

The UCM mock trial room

Mock Trial Team - #2 Ranked team in MO!

Mock Trial is a total immersion, communication skills activity, which gives students the opportunity to learn and practice trial advocacy skills.  Students from all academic departments can participate and do so by competing in invitational, regional and national tournaments.  Students work with Adam Sommer, a local attorney and the Mock Trial Coach, in small workshop groups, combining knowledge of the law with advocacy skills.  The training focuses on developing strategic, coherent case theories; preparing and delivering persuasive opening statements and closing arguments; and conducting clear, effective witness examinations.  Students learn a variety of trial techniques, and utilize demonstrative aids and exhibits in a trial setting.  Students become acquainted with and apply the Federal Rules of Evidence and Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure.  Most important, students build confidence in their abilities and eventually become thoughtful, credible, and quality advocates.   UCM’s Mock Trial program has had considerable success over the years, earning many bids to the national tournament.    Students interested in joining Mock Trial can contact Adam Sommer at ucmmocktrial@gmail.com.

 
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Lambda Alpha Epsilon

LAE is open to all students interested in a career in criminal justice. LAE meets regularly on campus and hosts guest speakers from all criminal justice professions.  The Criminal Justice and Criminology program has hosted the Gamma Epsilon Delta chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association since 1966. The chapter was named after G.E. "Bill" Davila, one of the department's original faculty members. Students regularly participate in competitions on the regional and national level that include physical agility, mock crime scene investigation, firearms, and written academic examinations. For more information contact Dr. Gregg Etter (etter@ucmo.edu)

 
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UCM Talking Mules Team

UCM's Forensics/Speech and Debate team competes regularly at state, national, and international competitions.  With a long history of success, the team has earned team and individual trophies at all levels.  For more information contact 

Coaches: Jack Rogers and Nikki Freeman (rogers@ucmo.edu and nfreeman@ucmo.edu)
or find them on Facebook: University of Central Missouri Debate & Forensics

 

What can you do with a pre-law related degree from UCM?

UCM does not offer a law or pre-law degree, but we offer many bachelor’s degrees to help you select the best major for pre-law for you. No matter which you choose, you should graduate with a foundation of legal study and meet pre-law requirements to be accepted to law school. 

Take advantage of UCM’s partnership with the University of Missouri, which will help you gain acceptance to their Columbia or Kansas City law schools. Through our 3+3 program, your final year at UCM counts as your first year at Mizzou Law. This enables you to complete your bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor degree in six years.

Get expert help to navigate your future 

UCM faculty, who have met pre-law requirements and completed law school, will write letters of recommendation and help you with the personal statement for your law school application. Their guidance, as well as that of UCM’s General Counsel and Scholars Program Director who also hold Juris Doctor degrees, is a big reason alumni say we’re one of the best schools for pre-law. Look to them for advice as you prepare for careers such as:

  • Circuit or appellate judge
  • Prosecuting attorney or public defender
  • Private attorney
  • Military judge advocate general
  • Corporate general counsel

Which Major Should I Choose?

The most common majors at UCM that go on to law school include Political Science, Criminal Justice & Criminology, History, and English, but there are many others.

The American Bar Association states:

The ABA does not recommend any undergraduate majors or group of courses to prepare for a legal education. Students are admitted to law school from almost every academic discipline. You may choose to major in subjects that are considered to be traditional preparation for law school, such as history, English, philosophy, political science, economics or business, or you may focus your undergraduate studies in areas as diverse as art, music, science and mathematics, computer science, engineering, nursing or education. Whatever major you select, you are encouraged to pursue an area of study that interests and challenges you, while taking advantage of opportunities to develop your research and writing skills. Taking a broad range of difficult courses from demanding instructors is excellent preparation for legal education. A sound legal education will build upon and further refine the skills, values, and knowledge that you already possess.

       https://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/pre_law/

 

The best minor for pre-law

After choosing your best major for pre-law, pair it with UCM’s Legal Studies minor for a solid foundation in the study of law. Our Political Science, Criminal Justice and Criminology and Business Law faculty work together to provide a diverse introduction and strong footing in legal studies through coursework that includes:

  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Legal Environment of Business
  • Public Law and the Judicial Process

 

 
 


 

 

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